Come next week, Thames-Coromandel’s Mayor Sandra Goudie will be excluded from attending council meetings in-person, following her council’s decision to mandate the Covid-19 vaccine.
Mayor Goudie faced national backlash after telling The Profile in October that she refused to have the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine, instead favouring the unapproved Novavax vaccine.
When earlier asked if her delay in getting vaccinated would be contentious among her constituents, she said she was “not saying no to vaccinations”.
“Everybody has to make their own decision,” she said.
Since then, Mayor Goudie has faced criticism about her decision, with people calling to make vaccinations mandatory for elected officials. Thames-Coromandel District Council this month considered making that call, meaning Mayor Goudie will be excluded from attending council meetings in person.
On Monday, council confirmed that by December 20 – or sooner if there was community transmission in the district – all staff and elected members would need to have had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to enter council workplaces. By January 17, they all need to be fully vaccinated.
Mayor Goudie refused to comment when approached by The Profile on Monday. According to a council communications officer, a survey of its staff indicated that of the 80 per cent who responded, 92 per cent were fully vaccinated and a further five per cent had received one dose or were intending to be vaccinated.
Employees and elected members who did not have proof of vaccination will be required to work remotely while council considered its options.
Across boundary lines, Hauraki District Council has not mandated the Covid-19 vaccine for its staff and elected members; however, it encouraged unvaccinated and vulnerable elected members, staff, and members of the public to attend council meetings remotely.
“We are currently updating our business continuity plans to align with the traffic light system, ensuring that our services continue should Covid-19 make its way into the Hauraki District communities,” Mayor Toby Adams said.
“These preparations include splitting teams into bubbles to minimise spread in essential frontline services and remote working options.”
Meanwhile, both councils were expecting positive Covid-19 cases throughout the region over summer. Both councils were also ready to welcome Aucklanders to the region when the border lifted on Wednesday, however, TCDC urged Aucklanders to follow the government’s requirement to be fully vaccinated or have a negative test result 72 hours before leaving the super city.